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By John Armstrong and Robin Ball

Quality, beauty and performance are the criteria Jeanneau focuses on in the innovation and design of new boats.  The 2013 Sun Odyssey 469 is the latest example of Philippe Briand / Jeanneau achievement of those criteria.  The 469 comes from the pedigree of the 509, and shares many of the elements of that successful design.  The 469 has moderate freeboard, a vertical bow, beam carried aft, a soft chine aft of the beam, and a drop transom.  Long lines and a low rise in the coach roof give the 469 an elegant and sleek appearance.   Flush hatches and recessed handrails maintain these clean lines.

The deck is well thought out for today’s sailor.  Sheets, halyards, outhauls, furling and travelers are all led aft in channels, dramatically de-cluttering the deck.  The primary winches are comfortably within reach, forward of each of the twin helm stations.  The double-end main sheet takes the windward winch, while the headsail is on the leeward.  Alternatively, stoppers allow both sheets to be adjusted on the same winch.  Each helm station was also equipped with its own compass and Raymarine E95 chart plotter.    An i 70 display for wind, speed, and depth is located on the aft side of the cockpit table.   Moving forward is facilitated by the wide de-cluttered decks.  There are no lines, raised tracks, hatches, or handrails to get underfoot.  The sturdy double lifelines and stanchions provide a secure purchase.   The forward sail locker with lockable hatch and access ladder keeps flying sails accessible and keeps sails out of the forward berth.  Wide seats, cushions and large centerline console folding table make the spacious cockpit quite comfortable.  Large seat lockers hold lines and fenders, while the table console encloses an icebox and storage compartment.  Six people could easily have dinner on this table.

There is a very well designed cockpit and it is enhanced by a large aft fold-down swim platform.   

The spaciousness, comfort and utility is continued below where the extensive use of Alpi Fine Teak® provides a warm and comfortable feel.  The wide beam, the chine which provides interior volume in addition to performance and stability, and taking the cabin sole low to the hull, result in this interior being impressively spacious.  The headroom in the salon is 1.93m (6’4”) and 1.87m (6’1”) in the forward cabin.  In our three cabin / two head configuration, the U-shaped settee with two armchairs provides excellent seating capacity.  There is also a convertible navstation with leatherette chart table on the starboard side.  The combination of coach top sidelites, fixed hull ports and hatches provide for a bright interior.  The cabinetry is precise and clean.  The hardware with full track drawers, softclose mechanisms and pneumatic assists make this interior better than most of our homes.   LED lighting overhead, in reading lamps and indirect lighting make efficient use of power.

The cabins both fore and aft also make good use of space.  Our three cabin layout slept three couples each with privacy and there are two extra salon berths for guests or children.  The cabins each have comfortable high density foam double berths.  The aft cabins include a hanging locker with storage shelf and side cabinets.  The forward berth boasts a large hanging locker starboard and another to port, a vanity/desk area, and upper storage cabinets under the side decks as well as large storage drawers under the double berth for impressive accommodations.   Again the extensive use of teak provides warmth, while the hatches and fixed hull ports, supplemented by direct and indirect lighting, provide brightness.

Our galley was L-shaped to starboard and equipped with solid counter tops, a double sink, a top access fridge and icebox, a two burner stove with oven, and a microwave.  Ample storage space is available in the galley and the salon.  Sliding waste bins and a storage drawer were located under the sink.

The entire lower space is all on one level, making it very safe and easy to walk around.

Now to the sailing …

We had the privilege of sailing the Sun Odyssey 469 immediately following the Miami Boat Show in February.  We were with Paul Fenn, President of Jeanneau North America and Eric Stromberg, Director of Product Development for Jeanneau. It was partly cloudy, 25 °C and blowing 15-25 Knots from the ESE.  Wave heights were 5-8 feet when we exited Government Cut to the Atlantic against the tide.  Some boats were pitching significantly, but our 469 cut through the chop with absolutely no pitching. The Yanmar 54 drove us through nicely.  With those conditions this test cruise was looking to be an adventure.   

Once we were set to exit the channel we simply unfurled the inmast main sail using the coach top electric winch.  In spite of +15Knots and waves it was effortless.   We then fully deployed the 106% standard headsail and went sailing.  

We reached back and forth then headed up and tacked a couple of times.  The main is only slightly larger than the jib and the boat never wanted to round up.  The helm responded well to driving through the waves which is always more of a challenge than when flat water sailing.  We sailed at a very comfortable heel and the boat tracked exceptionally well.  Tacking angles with the small headsail and the inboard sheeting were nice and tight.   

As we said earlier all sheets lead aft, are on stoppers and are winched on primaries just forward of the helm station.  This might not be good for a fully crewed race team as it concentrates all the activity in the back half of the cockpit, however for the cruiser or shorthanded sailor, it allows the helmsman to easily assist with the tack.   This layout made it easy to handle the boat and these were not average conditions.   

The entire time the boat was responsive and balanced.  We eventually headed back to the cut sailing up the channel where we furled the sails, reversing the simple process and maintaining some outhaul tension while the electric winch did the work.   There was no drama.  Despite conditions on the higher end of what many people would enjoy, we had a great sail and the 469 performed remarkably well.    

Jeanneau has once again succeeded in producing a marvelous sailboat with updated design, innovation, quality, performance and operability.  

SPECIFICATIONS
LENGTH OVERALL: 46’1” / 14.05 m
HULL LENGTH: 44’9” / 13.65 m
BEAM: 14’8” / 4.49 m
DRAFT: 7’4” / 2.24 m
LIGHT DISPLACEMENT: 23,830 lbs / 10,809 kg
SAIL AREA: 1136 sq ft / 105.5 sq m
FUEL CAPACITY: 63 gal / 240 L
WATER CAPACITY: 162 gal / 615 L
AUXILLIARY POWER: Yanmar 54 hp / 40 Kw

PRICE: $400,000.00 CDN Funds
Test boat provided by quoted by: Jeanneau America

Photo Captions:
Photo 1 - Gracious lady underway
Photo 2 - Beautifully appointed main salon